On Saturday, hundreds gathered at Dorchester Academy in Midway to aid the former school in its preservation effort.
More than 250 people gathered on the academy’s front lawn for the “This Place Matters” rally and publicity event.
With photographers snapping pictures and production crews shooting video, the group stood behind a sign that read, “This Place Matters.”
Cindye Jones, director of the Liberty County Convention and Business Bureau, was elated by the turnout.
“It was just overwhelming,” she said. “I was so moved because obviously this place really does matter to the people of Liberty County.”
During the rally, a representative from VIP Office Furniture and Supply offered to donate $1,000 if the community matched the amount. Jones said people standing in the academy’s auditorium immediately began making pledges.
“It sparked an initia-tive,” she said. “Different organizations just began
to announce that they
would use the Dorchester initiative as their next fundraiser.”
After it was all said and done, the academy had raised almost $8,000, 10 percent of what is needed to fix the roof.
“It’s going to cost us $80,000 just for the roof itself,” Jones said. “It’s critical we raise the money we need to fix it.”
That repair will be the next step for Dorchester Academy.
“We’re going to continue our grass-root efforts. We want to try and mobilize the community and have them let us know what they want Dorchester to be,” Jones said.
But Jones said the future of the academy ultimately lies in the community’s hands.
“We’re just asking that they continue to help us. Anyone who can offer
their services,” she said. “Tradesmen or construction workers who can help us fix the roof or donate supplies and materials will be appreciated because we need the help.”
The rally’s turnout eventually could lead to the school being added to the list of the 11 most endangered historic places in America.
Jones said she could
not express her gratitude enough.
“It’s so wonderful to be a part of a community that values their treasures and steps up to the plate,” she said.